Veteran powerboat navigator Gino Fusco died on Wednesday morning.
Fusco navigated TT’s most decorated powerboat – Mr Solo – for the past 21 years and won ten Tobago Great Race titles.
The powerboat racer joined Mr Solo in 1997 and concluded his decorated career in 2018 after falling ill. He began racing with the team’s 41-foot formula boat built by Stephen De Gannes.
Two years later, Mr Solo started competing in larger classes. Fusco adapted and continued navigating for the renowned vessel.
On Wednesday, his passing sent shockwaves throughout the TT Powerboat Association (TTPBA) and has left a void among Mr Solo’s team members Ken Charles (owner), Hayden Charles and Darin Marshall.
Ken Charles said, “He was a very affable gentleman and was well loved by everyone who he met. He had a way of just getting along with people. The TTPBA has lost a longstanding member. It’s the end of an era for us with Gino’s passing.”
Charles said in 1999 Fusco navigated Mr Solo to a silver medal finish at the World Championships in Key West, Florida.
Fusco has been inducted in the TT Great Race Hall of Fame on ten occasions (1999-2004, 2007-2009 and 2017). Throughout these years, Fusco gravitated from navigating a Formula III 40-foot vessel in 1999 to a 50-foot Victory in 2017.
Charles said the team is having a tough time coping with their loss.
“Well, he was a good friend, so the team is taking it a bit hard. Being our navigator for so many years, we have grown together as a family. He will be dearly missed by all of Mr Solo’s members and those who knew him.”
Former TT Powerboat Association (TTPBA) vice-president Roger Bell said, via social media, that Fusco was a “legend.”
“The Powerboat Racing fraternity lost a gem of a person early this morning. Gino Fusco was known for his sense of humour and pleasant demeanor.
“A legend in his own right, Gino has won ten Great Races between 1999-2017 racing alongside Ken Charles, Hayden Charles and Darin Marshall in Mr Solo. Gino will be missed. May he RIP,” the post read.
The association also posted a similar message in remembrance of the veteran throttle-man.
“RIP Gino from the TTPBA and condolences to the family and Solo Race team. Gino was always cracking jokes and a pleasure to be around.”